G. Zinoviev, N. Bukharin, B. Smeral & O. Kuusinen

The Englarged Executive Committee
on the Norwegian Party

(14 July 1922)

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 58, 14 July 1922, p. 437.
On-line Publication: Zinoviev Internet Archive, May 2020.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The Enlarged Executive of the Comintern has examined the situation of the Norwegian Workers’ Party and adopted the following resolution:

1. In its efforts to begin Parliamentary activity according to its actual needs, the Norwegian Workers’ Party has been led to give conditional support to the Liberal Government. This policy led to such occurrences as the journey of Comrade Lian, a member of the Party Executive, as Government expert to the Genoa Conference, the acceptance of a provisory Compulsory Arbitration Bill, and the support of the Government in a few other cases.

These phenomena can scarcely be distinguished from the old reformist policy. They have indeed been motivated with regard to certain working class interests; yet in the end they have led to the abandonment of other more important working class interests. The Norwegian comrades responsible for this policy, no doubt have tried to bear in mind the interests of the revolutionary class struggle, but the mistakes made in its application, have contradicted these interests. The Enlarged Executive has with great satisfaction taken cognizance of the assurance that the Norwegian Party has from its own experience and conviction recognized the necessity of a revision of its former Parliamentary policy. The Enlarged Executive expresses the hope that this will be done in the shortest possible time.

2. The case of Lian is to be judged in connection with the above-related facts concerning the former policy of the Norwegian Workers’ Party. It is clearly stated that his journey to Genoa raised no protest within the party. Therefore the whole Party was in accordance with this step. In the opinion of the Enlarged Executive Committee this step was a mistake and injurious. But in view of the circumstance that Comrade Lian cannot be alone held responsible, the Enlarged Executive annuls its former decision that Lian be personally disciplined and therewith considers this personal case as liquidated.

3. The acceptance of the Compulsory Arbitration Law in the Norwegian Parliament was a mistake. It had not the effect, as the Norwegian comrades thought, of strengthening the fighting position of the Party against the capitalist class; it rather produced differences of opinion within the Party’s ranks. In view of the great difficulties in the present situation of the Norwegian working class movement, it must be understood that the Enlarged Executive appreciates the efforts of the responsible Norwegian comrades who have protected the workers from premature, too severe fighting by legal measures. An irresponsible “ Leftism”, which attempts to weaken the fighting strength of the workers’ organizations by daily participation in thoughtless struggles and therefore opposes all legal measures protecting working conditions cannot count upon any support from the Communist International. But defense of the workers’ freedom to struggle against the legal restrictions of the bourgeois State is quite another thing; this defense is the duty of the Communists and in this connection the Compulsory Arbitration Law is unthinkable. Experience hitherto with compulsory arbitration has shown that it is futile to hope that the advantages of protection through this law would be greater for the workers than the disadvantage in shackling their freedom of action. The Norwegian comrades have now also gained this experience and come to this opinion. This is now generally recognized on the part of the former defenders of the bill, and none of them have recommended an extension of this provisory measure. In consequence of this the Enlarged Executive sees no more reason for dealing with this case.

4. The support of a bourgeois government contradicts the tactics of the proletarian united front, because on the one hand it arouses mistrust of the Communist Party in the revolutionary workers and on the other hand it strengthens the confidence of the remaining working class in the bourgeoisie and thus is not likely to assist the gathering of the working class into a united anti-bourgeois front. The tactics of the united front is in Norway, as everywhere, a fight against all bourgeois parties and against all capitalist circles. In this class struggle there must be gathered the broadest masses of the proletariat and for this reason we must bring the Social Democrats of the Second and 2½ Internationals as well as the Syndicalists together with us in the fight for joint slogans and for the most important interests of the working class.

There are in Norway no doubt great prospects for success for the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat through this tactic; of course, not in the sense that the conscious Right Socialists and Syndicalists would change themselves to real revolutionary class fighters. We need not labor under such an illusion. On the contrary, sooner or later, many of their leaders are sure to unmask themselves in the proletarian united front as deserters, traitors or cowards. But the great majority of their adherents can be won as true and worthy comrades of the proletarian revolution through our earnest demand for the common fight. On the other hand, the ruling position of our Norwegian brother party in the workers’ movement in its country gives more guarantee than in any other country that its application of the tactic of the united front will neither endanger the independence of the Communist Party nor its role as the leader of the revolution.

In spite of this, there have appeared in Norway, as in a few other countries, “left radical” fears and confused opposition to the tactic of the united front. The opposition sees in the official addressing of the proposals of our party to the Social Democratic Party or to the Syndicalist organizations, an unchaste “organic contact”. But that need not be the case. If important interests of the proletariat require the common action of all workers’ organizations, the successful execution of the tactic of the united front demands of the Communist Party, the political courage to turn to rival workers’ organization to confer with their leading organs or representatives, at times even to form a bloc, to enter into an alliance for the carrying out of a joint action, without prejudicing in the least the organic or political independence of the Party. Pursuing this further, our Party should be ready under certain conditions to form even a Government Bloc with the representatives of the workers’ parties and other workers’ organizations, to participate in a Workers Government and then from this half-way step in the further development of the revolutionary class struggle to lead to the dictatorship of the proletariat. Through a courageous carrying out of this tactic, thoroughly conscious of its aim, our Party has, without abandoning its steady revolutionary leadership or moderating its criticism of the non-revolutionary leaders, the best opportunity of thoroughly unmasking their inconstancy and treachery and to deprive them of the leadership of the workers. A Communist opposition that through its confused Left Wing fears, disavows the real tactics of revolutionary Marxism and shakes the confidence of the workers in such party leadership, does the proletariat an unpardonable misservice in the successful fighting of the class struggle.

5. The Enlarged Executive Committee binds all Norwegian Communists to work for immediate adherence to the R.T.U.I. at the approaching Trade Union Congress.

6. The Enlarged Executive Committee expects that the decision already made on the altering of the names of the central organs and several other papers of the Norwegian Workers’ Party will be carried out without delay.

The Executive Committee of the Communist International
G. Zinoviev. N. Bukharin, B. Smeral. O. Kuusinen, Secretary

Last updated: 5 May 2020